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William Frank SAMUELSON


William Frank SAMUELSON, economist in the field of Microeconomics; Economics of Uncertainty and Information; Organisation and Decision Theory.


SAMUELSON, William Frank was born in 1952 in Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America.


Bachelor of Arts, Doctor of Philosophy Harvard University, 1974, 1978.


Assistant Professor of Economics, Boston University, 1978-1984. Association Professor of Economics, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America.


According to the conventional description, microeconomics is about the functioning of markets and the behaviour of economic agents in the presence (and occasionally in the absence) of markets. My research has focussed on the latter area, individual decisions and behaviour, principally, in nonmarket contexts. This focus has come about partly by chance, partly by inertia but primarily by the belief that increasing our understanding of nonmarket allocation methods — auctions and competitive bidding, negotiation and bargaining, arbitration and fair division, voting and group decision-making — is at least as important as painting an additional wrinkle on the well-known ‘face’ of market behaviour. My research has aimed at developing and experimentally testing models of normative behaviour in bidding and bargaining settings under incomplete information.

In the former area, my work has analysed optimal bidding behaviour of competing buyers at auction and has characterised revenue- maximising auction methods available to the seller. In the latter area, my work has examined optimal bargaining strategies under both incomplete and asymmetric information and the implications of these strategies for bargaining efficiency. In a comparison of bidding and bargaining methods, my research has re-examined the Coase theorem by demonstrating the inherent limitations of bargaining solutions to externality problems under incomplete information and showing that forgoing an initial rights assignment and allocating the right by competitive bid leads to Pareto-superior outcomes.

Finally, my research in arbitration and fair division has examined equitable ways to divide a collection of goods among recipients and methods for determining maritime boundaries for mineral and fishing rights in ocean waters under dispute.